Todd Heap told reporters after yesterday's loss to the Patriots that he wanted to review the tape of the helmet-to-helmet hit that Pats safety Brandon Meriweather put on him before he commented on it.
Fair enough. The Ravens' tight end certainly deserves the right to withhold judgment until he sees the play again on film.
One man has already watched the film, and he's calling Meriweather's hit a "cheap shot".
That man is Mike Pereira, who served as the NFL's Vice President of Officiating from 2004-09. Pereira now works for FoxSports, doing television analysis of specific plays, and he also writes a column for FoxSports.com.
Pereira, who says he's concerned about the number of helmet-to-helmet hits that he's still seeing around the league, used his column this morning to break down four such hits. One of the four he focused on was Meriweather's hit on Heap, and Pereira clearly isn't pleased with the actions of the Patriots' safety.
"I cannot muster any kind of sympathy for Meriweather," Pereira wrote. "This is another cheap shot, and, in my mind, worse than the hit Cleveland's T.J. Ward put on Cincinnati's Jordan Shipley two weeks ago, and Ward was fined $15,000.
"Meriweather clearly launched and went helmet-to-helmet against Heap, and Heap was injured on the play. At least Ward did not launch. This type of hit is totally avoidable, and another message needs to be sent by the league to all players, forcing them to realize this type of contact is not acceptable. I look for a big fine to come from the league against Meriweather."
But a hefty fine might not be enough. On NBC's "Football Night in America" last night, former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, who was labeled by many a "dirty player" when he played in the league, explained how he reacted to getting fined by the league for an illegal hit.
"You didn't get my attention when you fined me five grand, 10 grand, 15 grand," Harrison said last night. "You got my attention when I got suspended, and I had to get away from my teammates, and I disappointed my teammates from not being there."
"You have to suspend these guys," Harrison added. "These guys are making millions of dollars."
I'm with Harrison on this one. If the league truly wants to put an end to helmet-to-helmet hits, they'll have to drop the fines, which most of the time, players shrug off as if they're nothing.
Players want to play, and if the league starts dishing out suspensions for illegal helmet-to-helmet hits, you can bet the frequency of those hits will drop, and it will drop fast.